Though we’ve known for four years that the 2020 US election cycle would be even more fraught than the strange and painful fall of the 2016 elections, most of us still find ourselves a little disoriented these days. For some, the urgency to remove Trump from office has immobilized us. For others, it’s fortified us into action to get out the vote and to sway those who are undecided, apathetic, and reluctant.
In the final five weeks before the election of a lifetime, we asked writers to consider the undecided voter and contribute compelling arguments and ideas for making the world right. Some contributors sent us work that takes on issues with precision and gravity. Others sent us different work, perhaps an even more visceral snapshot of this alarming moment — a one-act play, an open letter, a story of exile. New writing will be published weekdays; we believe its wisdom and strength will help us all navigate the uncertainty ahead.
The night Kamala Harris was announced as the VP nomination for this farce of an election, I heard how everyone my age hears about the things that will affect them in this country — from Twitter.
120-character accounts of how GREAT it was. How a Black woman would FINALLY be presidential potential. How much of a WIN this could be…if we — Black women, mostly — could stop being so critical. So bitter. So angry.
To be a Black woman in this country is to be a ghost— to hesitate to even claim America as her home & American as a title. It is to be synonymous with anger. With neglect. To live as a crater, for people to pour expectation into — a demographic that is believed must and should and will and can save this country with our votes. It is to be tasked with fighting voter suppression & confusing registration processes & COVID-19, all on top of carrying a collective & generational grief that is never allowed to be debilitating.
To be Black and a woman in this country is to be a ghost — something that bullets fly through to damage a wall that will receive more vindication in court than you ever will. It is to be told to be happy because someone like you finally got a seat at a table that should be on fire.
So… yeah. I get it.
I get why the idea to vote is hypocritical — when Breonna Taylor never got a shred of justice. When Megan Thee Stallion was shot & ridiculed. When Jennifer McLeggan was harassed. When Black Trans Women disappeared, were attacked on camera, & were murdered. When violence has always been the inheritance America gave us.
I get that asking you to vote in an election for a country that tries its best to kill you — not just in 2020, but each day in the history of our days — is asking a lot.
But I’m voting, & I hope you’ll vote too, because Trump is dangerous, incompetent, a series of “isms,” & capable of bolstering the same in his supporters. & Biden has a reputation for…liking ice cream.
I’ve learned to take every stupid, minuscule, and tender-sweet thing that I can.
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Juliette Givhan is a poet who writes about myths & memes. She is a lover of thicc cats, horror movies, & overpriced seasonal coffees. Her work has appeared in ANMLY Journal, Two Hawks Quarterly, Change Seven Magazine, and Peatsmoke Journal—with forthcoming poems in several others.